tv Lindsay Chervinsky The Cabinet CSPAN May 17, 2020 8:30am-9:31am EDT
abolition, because abolition is about abolishing the condition under which prison became the solution to problem, rather than abolishing the building we call prison. >> to watch the rest of this program visit our website, booktv.org and search ruth wilson gilmore. >> good afternoon. looking to white house history live. my name is stewart mclaurin and i'm the president of the white house historical association. today we're going to have an exciting conversation with the head of our rubenstein senator whitehouse history and one of our historians on a brand-new book, "the cabinet: george washington and the creation of an american institution." ordinarily we would be doing this event at the carriage house, historic decatur house
which is her base of operations on lafayette park but as we are all working from home and joined you in your home, we're trying out this new mode of communications that is perfectly fitting with our historic mission. as all of you know we were founded in 1961 by first lady jacqueline kennedy who had the vision at such a young age in such a short period of time as first lady to create an organization like the white house historical association to give nonprofit, nonpartisan support to the work of maintaining the museum standard of the white house, but also in education mission to teach and to tell the stories of the white house and its history going back to 7092 when george washington who we're talking about today actually selected that piece of land and hired a young irish architect to build the white house. creating education materials and content is a a core part of our mission, and that's what we do everyday through the wonderful, wonderful books that we publish,
our programs that we host at the decatur house and around the country, and our online social media content and website content. this is an example of that. we are doing more and more of this during this time were all of them looking for interesting things to do. i would really encourage you to check out our website, whitehousehistory.org and you can find all kinds of information and materials, particularly a wonderful new part of her website which combines educational materials from over 100 presidential sites across the country. so we become one-stop shopping for presidential and white house history. at the end of the program i'll remind you to go to shop whitehousehistory.org or you could order the book. we have it on sale at a lesser price anywhere else you can find it at a think after you hear her talk today you are going to want a copy of your own. so now i will turn over our program to try to lose a senior vice president, my colleague at
dissociation, and also directs that david rubenstein national senator whitehouse history. she will be talking with lindsay chervinsky, the author of the book we're celebrating and launching today, "the cabinet: george washington and the creation of an american institution." colleen, it's all yours. >> thank thank you, stuart. i'm so delighted to be with everybody this evening to celebrate my colleague book launch of "the cabinet." 1090 i have it right here in front me. it's a terrific book. i want to but everybody was listening tonight and tuning in on facebook live that if you have questions we will be taking questions from the audience at the end of the program. just type your questions into the comments section, the facebook feed and will get to as many questions as possible at the conclusion of our program. without further delay, i want to
talk to lens about this terrific book, "the cabinet." tell us, there's been many, many books written about george washington, books about his time as revolution were general, books written about his time as president of the united states, and there's been a lot of scholarship on his precedent-setting activity. however, there's never been it book length treatment of washington's creation of the cabinet. why do you think that is? >> it such a great question. most people really assumed that because washington created the cabinet and every president since washington has had a cabinet, that it was inevitable or it was just there from the very beginning. that's very much not the case. washington held his first cabinet meeting to and half years into his administration, and is very much a product of an organic development of him getting to respond to international and domestic
pressures as they came up. i think because history is has evolved the way it is, people sort of assume that was always going to be the case. >> said tell us what washington decided to create the cabinet and tell us a little bit about the earlier models that utilize when when is trying to seek advice when he was president. >> so most people don't know that the cabinet actually is in the constitution, and article ii, section two of the constitution lays out two options for the president to obtain advice. first, the president can request written advice from the department secretaries about issues pertaining to their departments, or the president can consult and advise with the senate on foreign affairs. this had a very different meaning back in 1787 and the delegates to the constitutional convention first crafted this clause. they really intended the senate to serve as a council on foreign
affairs, and the intended the city to be active participants in the process of diplomacy. and so this picture that i put up for you to see is a federal hall in new york city, and when washington first went into office he will he intended to use these options at the constitution laid out for him, and he went to federal hall. he visited with the senate and requested their advice, and it went very badly. he was expecting immediate answers. he wanted their opinions. the senators really wanted to act like legislators. they wanted to refer the issue to committee. they wanted to debate it and discuss it in private, and they asked him to come back the next week. that really frustrated washington. he got really angry. sort of urban legend is he swore on the way out he would never again return, and i'm not sure if that's actually true that he said that, but he never went back to the senate for advice.
regardless of what he said, he certainly meant it. so that was one option that is sort of experimented with and then really pretty quickly dismissed. the other option, the requesting of written advice was something washington that from the very beginning. but if we think about today when were sending e-mails back and forth, we often forget to ask something or something is in clear and we need to the follow-up because someone stole isn't necessarily conveyed well. now imagine trying to do that with parchment and quill. it was incredibly complicated and it took a really long timed it was cumbersome and tried to wait for it to dry and then wait for the letter to be delivered and then wait for the response. to washington really quickly realize he needed to have in person conversations in order to deal with a very complex issues that were facing his administration. what he did is he would send a letter to the secretary. they would write back and forth once or twice and then have an individual meeting afterwards. that worked for about the first
year and half of the administration intel diplomatic issues really started to boil to the surface in washington decided that he needed to bring all of his advisers together to consult in a group. >> you argue in your book washington was influenced during his time as the revolutionary war general for his service in the revolution of war that influence the creation of the cabinet. in particular, you talk a lot about the war councils that he contacted as general. can you tell us about those war councils and now that influence the creation of the cabinet? >> absolutely. so washington was very much a military man and i put two pictures appear what the council's might have looked like, depending on whether or not they were meeting in a larger home or in washington's war tent. the washington was really a military man. his prior leadership experience had come in the context of the military. it was how he thought, was how
he approached issues. the councils of war had been incredibly helpful to them because it was an opportunity to bring together the officers to ask are different opinions, to allow them to debate all of these issues and duke it out, and it was way for him to stress test the different positions and see where the weaknesses were and arguments, and to consider all the facts at one time. and then he would often ask for written opinions afterwards that he could go home and read them and consistent in his own time, and then make a final decision. he concluded this process was really helpful because it allowed him to get expertise and advice and perspectives that were different than his own, and that was very important to him both as a general and as a president, and allowed him to try and build unity among his officers and even to get additional support if he is making a controversial decision.
those councils of war were really the building graph for his leadership skills, and once washington did conclude that he needed a cabinet it was a model he drove on. >> you argue in the book that washington was an efficient and effective administrator. you don't often think of george washington -- when you think of george washington to think of jell-o, some of very decisive. you don't think of him as a talented administrator. can you talk about that and also explain why that was so important when he became president of the united states? >> sure. washington as you point at washington really didn't get enough credit for being politically savvy for having good leadership skills, for being very actively involved in the presidential process. as i mentioned with the council of war leadership, he was with some really big personalities. they were allowed, sometimes arrogant, they had their own
ambitions. they had own ideas about how to do things including charles lee who famously like to bring in his pack of hounds to council of wars, which i as a dog lover personally think is great and anyone who knows hounds knows that they can be quite loud and perhaps not conducive to good meeting environment. so he was cheating with a really colorful, boisterous environment and had to manage all those personalities. when washington was president he had fewer people that he had to manage in a small space, anyone who is seen hamilton knows that hamilton and jefferson really, really didn't like each other and really couldn't get along. and so that management was crucial. the other reason than management was so important was because washington was setting precedent in every single action he was taking. everything from how to correspond with the secretaries have to interact with congressman, how to respond to
an average person on the street, was sort of social events to take place? someone who's capable of managing these details and managing the people beneath them was crucial when you're talking about building out a governing structure that is in the constitution and isn't passed in legislation. so that daily management becomes essential. >> following up on your observation, you also talk about in the book washington understood the importance of developing close social relationships between his advisers. in modern day terms of did washington have a high eq. >> was absolutely. this is another one of the strengths is that usually appreciated. so washington understood that when you're going to spend eight years fighting a war or eight years in the presidency, there are going to be disagreements. of course people are going to disagree. but if you have a bond that is
existing beneath, you can use get through them. or if you have a common cause you are working towards you can usually smooth fast any sort of disagreements or tensions. he hosted the social events, everything from private dinners to horseback rides out in the countryside, the balls and dances in winter quarters when officers wives would come to visit. they would have these big festivities around holidays, and so we did so as a way to build an esprit de corps to make sure the officers understood that they're they were all fighting for the same cause. as president he did do the same thing to secretaries bigger often often invite and what he called a family dinner. because he referred to the secretaries as his official family. he would invite them to a family dinner either after a cabinet meeting or perhaps in the middle of one if it was dragging on for several hours as as a bit of a break, to try to smooth over the
feathers that have gotten a rud by hamilton and jefferson's debates and try to remind them they were all working towards the same goal. i would maybe suggest that worked better in the war that worked in the presidency because hamilton and jefferson were so opposed to each other. i'm not sure in the amount of socializing with a fixed it and he certainly tried have the awareness that he needed to try to try and keep the cabinet together. >> so tell us who the original members, the original team of rivals were in washington presidential cabinet and also talk about the backgrounds of these individuals, their geographic origin, their opinions. was this a heterogeneous group of advisers or homogenous group of advisers? >> yeah, so the picture shows the original cabin, washington the course is to the left, then there's secretary for henry knox, secretary of the treasury alexander hamilton, secretary of
state thomas jefferson, and attorney general edmund randolph. and to certain extent they are all fairly similar, all white men of course, but in terms of the ideas that they represented and the experiences and expertise they brought into the cabin, they were very, very different. henry knox had been the major general of the artillery during the war. he had been served as the command at west point and then secretary of war underneath the confederation congress. so we had indispensable military experience and indispensable experienced negotiator with native american nations under the purview of the secretary of war at the time. hamilton had a brilliant financial mind, and while washington certainly understood the plans hamilton keep up with come he didn't necessarily have that same sort of creativity and ability to come up with complex solutions. so he needed someone who could really come up with those ideas.
thomas jefferson had extensive diplomatic experience and was fluent in french which was the language of diplomacy, while washington had been to barbados when he was a teenager that was the only time he ever left the country. he needed someone who was experience in the art of diplomacy and what it was like to be in france and great britain. lastly, edmund randolph of prickly goes overlooked was a brilliant people might picky bend the attorney general for virginia. he had been washington's private work for many decades and so he was a really, really important part of the cabinet, especially when you're talking about constitutional questions. guess he would provide advice for all of the secretaries and not just washington. so in addition to the background and training, they also came from different regions of the country. jefferson and randolph were both slave owning virginians. hamilton made his home in new york and cozied up to the merchant trade elites, and knox
really had been self taught, self trained in boston and now made his home in maine. into washington understood that when the nation was new and the tie that bound the different stick together were quite tenuous, he understood that if he brought in people to his administration that represented the different regions and different interests and different factions and all the different parts of the nation, as long as they were white men, that that would help people feel that they belong in the federal government. it would help them feel like the federal government spoke for them, and that was a really important part of his nationbuilding agenda. >> the original cabinet was the first in several critical aspects, as you just described. however, the reunified and homogenous in their belief that washington needed to bolster his executive authority as president. why did they all agree upon this one principle?
>> this is really important argument i try to make in the book people think jefferson who was sometimes critical of washington and who was opposed to executive power, surely he didn't support that. but actually what if that is that the cabinet worked together hand-in-hand to try and boost executive power. because they had observed during the articles of confederation. period and during the war what happen when it wasn't a strong federal government. and what happened when there wasn't one person really pushing an agenda and trying to get things done. and congress had been woefully inefficient. they had been powerless to try and levy taxes. powerless to try to negotiate diplomacy, , powerless to defend the nation against both domestic and foreign threats. so they had all experience what happened when the was a week
congress and the weak executive. they believed that in order for the nation to survive, the need to be a strong president that could articulate policy and then go back and lamenting it in a very energetic way. the cabinet as they envisioned it was not supposed to take away authority from the president or compete with the president, but rather to bolster the president authority and help the president get things done. >> so when did the first cabinet meeting take place and why did washington call it? >> so the first cabinet meeting took place on november 26, 1791, which was over two and half years into washington presidency. the pictures show the president's house in philadelphia, the painting to the right of course with contemporary, , and then this 3d model shows what the house would have looked like at the time. it was one of the largest umps in philadelphia and was really quite a grand residence.
washington invited the secretaries over on november 26 because jefferson had just gotten some bad news from the british minister, and they really felt like it was time to establish a new strategy of trying to figure out the trade agreements with france and great britain. they basically have this meeting where they laid out all of the existing policies and what the future goals were going to be. and not too much actually came of that meeting, but what's interesting is those issues, , e relationships with france and great britain, those continue to dominate both washington's presidency and also cabinet deliberations for the remainder of his administration. >> how did washington handle disagreement within the cabinet? you alluded to the fact jefferson and hamilton didn't always see eye to eye. how did washington handle disputes that might even gotten heated during cabinet meetings?
>> so there were some significantly heated cabinet meetings. they would admit in a place that was a little bit like this. this would've been similar to what washington's study would've looked like at the time, it's a very small room. it was 15 x 21'. it was very full of furniture and there were five pretty large been beating in this space. probably under the best of circumstances even if they all did get along, there were meeting up to five times per weak for several hours a day in the middle of the summer with no air conditioning in this cramped space. they're probably would've been some hot topics. but because jefferson and hamilton really were diametrically opposed on so many issues, the tensions in the cabinet meetings quickly flared into much more than just a little agreement. washington did his best to keep things calm. he often would literally go back and forth between siding with jefferson, siding with hamilton, with jefferson, with hamilton.
or he would try and find a middle ground that merge old perspectives. he held the family dinners which made help, maybe didn't. he assured both of them how valuable they were to him in the cabinet and pleaded with him to stay and not retired because he wanted those different perspectives. but ultimately he felt the disagreements and the differences of opinion again were really helpful to them. it was important to hear all of the different sides of an issue. while jefferson was really uncomfortable with that conflict and frequently wrote about bundling it was that hamilton would go on for three-quarters of an hour so he would give a 45 minute speech in this space, washington was okay with it and was willing to let them battle it out because he thought it made him in the presidency and the nation better. >> you argue in the book, in several chapters, that the
cabinet, the institution of the captain, washington's tablet,, greatly affected some of the most critical important leadership decisions he made as president. one of those had to do with citizen g&a. can you tell so bit about that controversy and why was it so important washington to have unanimity in his cabinet about the expulsion? >> in 7093 france declares war on great britain. and it quickly expands into basically at international conflict. the united states was nowhere near prepared to get into another war. they were just starting to recover physically, emotionally, financially from the revolution. not to mention they didn't have a navy or an army so if that really wanted to fight it nothing to fight with. they all know when this war broke out they needed to maintain neutrality. what new cattle emit may be
different because you could enforce a strict neutrality which hamilton favored and i was we can help the british or you could force a bit of elusive neutrality which jefferson favored and that would favor the french. but what really threw throw a h in all these plans was when edmund who was a new french minister arrived and really ignored united states neutrality. he started hiring privateers which were essentially private citizens that were hired to take ships out under french marker or french letter basically and don't attack british ships, then they would bring those attack ships back in the u.s. ports, selloff the goods entering that new ship into another french peer. obviously the british were really mad this was happening and he didn't want the ships brought into u.s. ports because that didn't seem very neutral.
and genet basically disregarded orders to stop doing this activity and, in fact, was doing get in the port of philadelphia, which was about six blocks from washington's house. so literally right under the president's knows. he ignored so many orders again and again and again for months to stop these activities. and finally he was in an argument with jefferson and he was basically disagreeing with jefferson about who had the power to the policy in the united states. and genet was saying it was congress, and jefferson was saying you're wrong, it's the president. and genet threaten threatened l to the american people. and that was hugely disrespectful to washington and it was very disrespectful to the new nation. and so when this threat came out, when it was revealed that he said this, washington convene a cabinet meeting and they decided to request the recall of
genet from france. this was a big moment because the united states never requested the recall of the foreign minister before. and if france disagreed or refused, that would basically be denying the right of the united states to establish its own foreign policy and to require that foreign ministers adhere to the foreign policy. so when they made the decision can washington really need to be sure that everyone agreed otherwise that was going to be problematic when they took this huge step. so they all did agree. i sent a letter to france and eventually france did recall genet and that was sort of the tacit agreement that the united states did have the right to set its own foreign policy expert calling out the militia during the so-called whiskey rebellion was another important precedent that washington sent. how did his cabinet influence his decision making during the whiskey rebellion?
>> absolutely. the cabinet was really important at this moment. in 1794, violence broke out in western pennsylvania. a number of rebels and then home of a tax collector, and within sort of brewing discontent for quite some time, but this was the real moment when he became a violent situation. washington gathered his cabinet and he asked for their advice of what they should do. basically there were four options that were available to me. he could leave it to the states to deal with in their own way, so pennsylvania could do with their own discontent. north carolina could deal with theirs. he could wait until congress came back into session in the fall and allow congress to do with it. he could request an emergency session of congress and ask them to come up with some sort of policy. or he could use a new law that had been passed that said that the president would call up the militia from several states in
the event of a foreign invasion or a domestic rebellion. and the cabinet really urged him to do this fourth option, to take action itself. they serve disagreed on the best way to do that randolph thought he should really send out a peace commission first to try to negotiate and come up with a peaceful solution. hamilton and knox for all for sin in the military right away. the new attorney general, william bradford, suggested that he kind of do a mill middle aph we send out a peace commission, especially for optics, to look as though he had done everything he could to avoid the military solution, but then begetting the militia ready while i was happening just in case it failed. washington pursued this last option. he thought it was a good idea to build up, curry public favor and public opinion before sending out the troops. but then he didn't in-depth call it in the militias from maryland, virginia, pennsylvania
and new jersey, and before doing so they really had to work with the pennsylvania officials to try and get their complaints. this is with a cabinet was really crucial because they basically bullied the pennsylvania officials into a green to comply. they really didn't want to. they thought it should be a state issue and that washington was really overstepping his authority. the cabinet official worked through a series of letters and negotiations to essentially browbeat them into submission. and in this amazing moment when the cabinet in the present work just live on state authority and sideline congress and carve out this year of influence for the president over domestic issues, which in there is supposed be more of the purview of the states or congress. >> at the very end of the washington administration, you argue that washington reinforces this notion that the cabinet will be led by the president in a personal way, and then the
president has to take his or her own approach to how they lead the cabinet. what did you mean by that? >> well so, in the last couple of years of washington's presidency there's a lot of turnover. some of the new people that come in office i sort of section refer to them as the became. .. -- the b team. ..
by doing so he ensures the cabinet does not have a right to participate in decision-making process and he determines that the president really gets to decide when and how he's going to meet with the cabinet and that is a very important legacy for going forward and for the presidents that came after him. >> i want to ask our last question and remind all our viewers who are out there that you can ask lindsay questions for the conclusion of our program by typing in the questions in the comments section of the facebook feed . at the end of your book you argue that the management of the cabinet by the president can be a nearly impossible task . can you tell us why you wrote, why you call it a nearly impossible task and also, what are some presidents historically other than washington who have effectively managedand led their cabinets ? >> sure. the cabinet can be the president's greatest asset and it can also be its biggest potential risk factor
or really detrimental to the presidents legacy and success and the reason i say that is because if a president has put together a good cabinet then that means you are putting together a group of people areincredibly experienced, incredibly knowledgeable , probably full of opinions and maybe have their own ambitions. so managing that group of people and getting them to be the most effective tools for your administration, your best form of outreach. your best form of congressional liaison, that can be an incredibly tricky task to try and manage. without either making them shut down or without having them undermine presidential ambitions or presidential agendas so we've seen some examples where presidents do this incredibly well. fdr was really great about managing his cabinet and he had really diverse perspectives including two
republicans during the war years trying to make sure he had unity and diverseopinions in his cabinet . another example of a president that did very well with their cabinet would be lincoln of course. there was a team of rivals and he managed to have a number of different personalities. by making them feel involved, by making them feel welcome and her and jefferson was great at this as well and on the flipside people like adams really struggled with the cabinet because he's thought they would be loyal to him for the office as opposed to really having to work hard to manage those relationships so when presidents have good cabinets we tend not to see them and they tend not to be too visible and their successes give the president an extra boost and when they are not working well then they become very visible and they tend to detract from a presidents mission.
>> we have some really great questions here lindsay. knowing nothing about the first cabinet i have to ask, was there fierce competition for these positions once they were created ? in other words once people found out washington was putting together this thing calledthe cabinet did everyone want to get in and have a chance to serve ? >> know which is pretty remarkable. washington struggled to get people to fill these positions in his final years and it makes sense when we think about the reality of these positions. the pay was pretty low. you had to live in philadelphia most of the year . you probably were leaving your family, your home, your business, your farm, your plantation for many months at a time . communication was poor because it took a long time for the mail to go and travel was difficult and uncomfortable you weren't
getting to visit all that often so were probably taking an economic hit by being away from your main source of income and you were dealing with uncomfortable realities so most people really didn't want these positions and washington really had to appeal to their sense of honor and duty to get people to go into office. >> the question about lincoln is as you mentioned doris kearns goodwin made a big splash with team of rivals trying to peg lincoln's political genius to his foresight in creating his cabinet . using lincoln as that unique in changing the mold of what that cabinet looked like during the early republic were quite frankly was there a lot of clashing personalities in the early days to ? >> this is a great question because team of rivals has changed how we think about cabinets and how we think about even just the phrase team of rivals. people know whatwe're talking about . it's a beautifully written book and a phenomenal story but as the question points
out the concept of putting together your rivals in the cabinet was not that new . most presidents put the leaders of their political parties and their cabinet and if the president was lucky they weren't competing directly with them and only with each other so munro is a great example . munro didn't have any trouble with the secretary trying to take over authority from him but they were all competing with each other by struggling to be the next president and that led to a lot of cabinet conflict that was sort of this standard model at least up through lincoln and he of course at his own political genius about getting those people to work together but that was the standard. >> the next question isfrom claire on facebook . in washington the john day as an advisor inany way similar to how he saw his cabinet members ? >> claire, thanks so much for
this question. john jay was one of washington's closest advisers . they had a good personal relationship. from the beginning washington was asking for his advice on issues pertaining to diplomacy because jay had been the secretary of foreign affairs underneath the confederation congress so washington asked him for advice on everything from diplomacy to how washington should host events to legal issues and jay had really no problem sharing that advice and sharing those issues with washington . he ran into a little bit of trouble when washington would ask the entire supreme court for advice and they had to short of shut that down and said we can't really advise you on this issue that would be a problem with separation of powers but j continue to be an important advisor to washington until the end of his presidency. he just didn't attend meetings. >> the next question is from stephen on facebook and this is a good one, who would your
favorite cabinet member and why? >> just having to choose one, oh my goodness . i would say either, i'm going to take a cop out. i'm going to take two. knoxvillerandolph . i think those tend to be the two most underappreciated cabinet members. i hate when people say oh, knox didn't do anything. he just followed along with hamilton which directly comes from jefferson's writings by the way. jefferson thought because knox agreed with hamilton on everything, surely he was hamilton's toady when in reality knox had all these incredible experiences and was in the army for so much longer than hamilton and just is really not appreciated i think and not in the cabinet and then randolph has gotten a bad rap so those are my two favorites. and i kind of feel bad for their legacy. >> what are the primary ways,
this is from william. the primary ways washington's engagement with his cabinet affects how cabinets work today. >> great question william. so obviously the cabinet has changed a lot . it's bigger. it has institutionalized, the national security council has taken over a lot of the responsibilities of the original cabinet but when we think about washington's legacy which is that each president gets to decide who their closest advisers are going to be and how they're going to relate to them when they're going to ask them for advice in what form they're going to ask them for advice, whether or not they're going to listen to that advice, those relationships all take place outside of congressional and public oversight which means that some presidents can be really close with their vice president like obama and biden were really close and some presidents can be closed with certain cabinet members and some presidents prefer to rely on family members whose like kennedy's brother was in
the cabinet or friends and other people who they happen to know and that legacy very much affects how modern presidents work because we still don't have much oversight over those advisory relationships. >> the next question from sean. did george washington really offer hamilton his choice of either treasury or state and if hamilton had chosen state who would have been our first treasury secretary? >> know he didn't. depending on the evidence that you look at, some people say that washington first offered treasury to robert morris which makessense because they were close friends . robert morris had been treasury secretary during the confederacy and according to myth, morris declined and encouraged washington to pick hamilton for the treasury secretary which probably would have been his second choice anyway and was a natural fit.
washington knew he needed someone who had diplomatic experience and had relationships with people in foreign nations to serve as the secretary of state and hamilton not had any of that experience, i'm not been in those positions so that definitely would not have happened . and actually it was madison's encouragement that washington listened to when he picked jefferson to be the secretary of state. >> next question from caitlin, why wasn't the creation of the cabinet written into the constitution . >> that's a good question because the british had aform of the cabinet so and the british system influenced so why didn't they write the cabinet into the constitution ? >> thank you for asking that question. so the delegates at the constitutional convention were very concerned about there being a group of advisers around the president that sort of obscured responsibility at the highest
levels. they were worried it would become a cobol and there would be cronyism and corruption and that it wouldn't be clear who was advising what, who was taking taking different positions, who was taking the final decision and that was very much concerns they had inherited from the british system because it really wasn't clear what the british cabinet who told the king what and who was making the decisions . they could hold responsible for maybe bad policies so the delegates rejected that option and refused to put it into the cabinet because they were concerned about responsibility and transparency and that's really why they insisted that the secretaries provide written advice because then there would be a paper trail of evidence about who said what it would be clear to blame if something wentpoorly . >> from megan, was there some story us resource you loved but you could not include in
your book ? >> at a very creativequestion . yes, actually. there isn't, i mentioned it very briefly but i don't talk much about it in the book although i sensed, i've since written other things about it . there's a thing called the articles, the acts of congress. >> it's called the articles of confederation. >> there is an articles of confederation, it's the acts of congress. and it's a volume washington had ordered. it's a copy of the constitution and a copy of all the bills that were passed either first federal congress and he had been bound into a volume and printed and then he wrote a series of notes in the margins and basically these notes reveal his ongoing thinking about executive power, right as he's contemplating what he's going to do because the senate hasn't worked out and written
advice is not efficient enough so these notations are incredibly important and the reason i love this document so much is that it was in private hands until 2012 and then mount vernon acquired so most historians even know about it into until 2012 and these notations are rare because washington was not a scribbler in his book like adams or jefferson so you can see it. if you go to mount vernon and i've done a podcast on this and then article as well so if you're interested in more of that information i can share it because it is a fascinating document. >> we don't have much record of what washington thought because he didn'tspeak many times during the constitutional convention . >> he only spoke once at the very end and he really preferred to listen during the actual debates but it's also really important to note 2 things. one, he was there every day and he voted with the
virginia delegation so people knew how he was voting and his opinion was very powerful . the second is that after the and of each session, a lot of the delegates would go to dinner. they would listen to music or go to the theater. they would visit local philadelphia families so they were socializing together almost every day and you can bet they were talking about what they had discussed earlier so i think he was probably having more private conversations about his teams and working with the virginia delegates to try to get certain things past. he just prefer to work in smaller groups as opposed to speak in front of the entire convention. >> next question is from brian. can you tell us more about washington's philadelphia home where some of those cabinet meetings took place? what was the homelike, the neighborhood and how did that affect the meeting. >> i think the space is so important and something we don't often consider about how our surroundings affect us on a day-to-day basis so
the home as i said was one of the largest private homes in philadelphia. it was sort of in the heart of a very nice and the district on market and sixth street. if you go to philadelphia today there's still a sort of memorial half of the floor plan is first floor. but all of the secretaries lived basically within six blocks of the president's house. so did many of the elite homes so it was a very, people say washington dc is a small world today but it has nothing on philadelphia in the 1790s because it was a very small community. they all went to the same shots and the same markets. they went to the same merchants. attended the same theaters, they attended the same social clubs and libraries and they went to each other's homes so that network and that neighborhood was really important because not only could jefferson and hamilton not escape each other in the
actual study that i showed that was small, when they left the home they probably were running into each other fairly regularly at social events and other things. we have records that they use the same taylor to tailor their suits so the likelihood that they were running into each other was pretty good and they just couldn't escape each other so philadelphia really became a hothouse for political tensions and exacerbated these existing divisions and i think really led to the acceleration of the firstpolitical parties . >> next question from andrew which is i think you'll like this one. was the musical hamilton an accurate representation of alexander hamilton ? >> yes and number first of all, it's phenomenal art but it's not history and that's okay because it has inspired so many people to learn more about the subject and read more and that is a wonderful thing. i'm a huge fan of it. there are certain thingsthat
are absolutely correct .the reynolds affair was true. his unbelievable marriage was true. eliza's efforts to preserve his memory and his legacy after he died, 100 percent correct. the dual absolutely but then there are things that are sort of built out for dramatic effect. so there's no record that he had a sort of romantic flirtation with eliza's sister. they certainly had a robust correspondence but it didn't ever appear to be inappropriate . similarly he certainly did support some abolitionist sentiments. he supported the creation of the first school in new york city for freed african-americans but he wasn't as much of an abolitionist as the musical mix and not to be. the schuyler family had enslaved people and he was often surrounded by slavery and didn't appear to object
to it all that much so yesand no to a certain extent . >> from james, was there talk amongst the early cabinet about who might be the next president ? did jefferson make his intentions to run known early ? >> great question. no because everyone wanted washington to keep serving. they felt like he was a unifying figure and the only person they could all agree upon a time when agreement was hard to come by so there wasn't really all that much conversation. jefferson retired at the end of 1793 and went home to monticello and swore that he was done with politics. everyone started news, that wasn't quite so but he never said anything about his wanting to be president but at the time it's important to remember you couldn't appear to want to be president
because that wouldmake you ambitious in a very bad way . you had to appear to be disinterested and called to serve from duty and honor so jefferson really tried to put that image out that he didn't want to serve.and he didn't want to be president and he wanted to stay home and it wasn't until washington announced his intention to retire that people started talking about the other options . >> now we come to our last question unfortunately from chin and it's a goodone. why is it called a cabinet and why not counsel ?>> great question so the term cabinet comes from the british like so many things in the american political system and american culture. so initially i have been a privy council that the king would meet with to discuss issues and get their advice and privy council meant a very large ornate chamber and when the privy council got too big to be big as an advisory council, became started pulling a couple of
his favorite advisors into a small little room off the side and this little tiny room was called the kings cabinet. and that was just sort of the description for really small rooms at the time so this group became known as the kings cabinet council and then eventually counsel was dropped and it became the cabinet and cabinet sort of signified a less official position within the government councils tended to be written into legislation so virginia for example at a council of states that advised the governor, same with new york so cabinet was intended to convey a more private conversation and more private relationship and by 1792 americans were referring to washington's meetings as cabinet meetings. >> thank you so much lindsay. once again the book is a cabinet. harvarduniversity press . i can't say enough about this book. i learned so much about george washington and also
about political institutions, the creation of institutions and certainlyabout the creation of the cabinet . we're now going to go back to stuart mclaurin for our conclusion for the evening. >> thank you colleen and lindsay. i have worked at the white house association for the end of my career and i could learn something new every day and i've learned a great deal listening to this conversation this evening. this white house history live is the first addition of something we would like to continue so if you enjoy this or have suggestions for the future send us a message through our website or through the comments on this facebook live session. we would also like to invite you to an event we're hosting this thursday at 5:30 eastern , 4:30 central and it's the third in our series of white house history happy hours. this thursday we will talk with presidential grandson and truman daniels who will
talk about the truman renovation of the white house and many other aspects of the truman presidency and his son the great-grandson of president truman will be mixing a special cocktail i understand was a favorite of s truman's. if you like to order the book lindsay chervinsky's book, it is available on the white house historical association website. go to shop.white house history.org. it's discounted for purchase and you can get yourcopy there today . please stay safe and we look forward to seeing you on the next addition of white house history live . have a good evening . >> here are some of the current best-selling audiobooks according to audible . topping the list to memoirs. first becoming by former first lady michelle obama, the best-selling book of 2018 followed by glenn and doyle's untamed.
after that retired us seal david goggins shares his thoughts on self-discipline in can't hurt me. and in talking to strangers, new yorker staff writer malcolm gladwell examines how we misread strangers words and actions. and wrapping up our look at some of the best-selling nonfiction audiobooks according to audible is former navy seal and republican congressman of texas dan crenshaw's thoughts about overcoming adversity in his book 42. some of these authors have appeared on book tv and you can watch them online at booktv.org. >> during a virtual author program hosted by the hoover institution former secretary of state in the george w. bush administration condoleezza rice offered her thoughts on the coronavirus pandemic andnational security . here's a portion of her talk. >> right now the united states is trying to be new york and is worried about
what's going on and that's understandable but it's not as if we've done nothing. in fact the administration has made available $100 million for the covid-19 response in developing countries and i'm certain that out at our embassies and in places like that, we're trying to help other countries with their response. we also as i mentioned have the emergency network which helps countries that are in the developing world respond to the crisis so in time i think the us will play a bigger leadership rolebut for now , the foreign assistance should be welcome and the fact that it's not going to help us right now call together a big conference to talk about response to the virus. it's not going to be helpful and it will be helpful in a few months to do that and also to try to help the world
plan better for the next time around. >> if you're joining us i'm tom killian and this is the hoover institution's virtual policybriefing with condoleezza rice . you were a national advisor during the sars operate. what are the differences between then and now? >> one of the unfortunate similarities which is hard to get information out of china during the sars outbreak. we knew something had happened. it was very hard to get an answer out of chinaon what had happened . and that is unfortunately a recurring pattern this time around and it's probably the most troubling aspect of this crisis. it is kind of in the nature, it is in the nature of the chinese system and authoritarian systems that control of information is power. control of the narrative is power. so we shouldn't be surprised when this outbreak happens in wuhan, they silenced the
young physicians and medical students who were trying to sound thealarm . can you imagine those people being silent in the united states or in any country, in germany or brazil? no, somebody would have picked up the story in the press and it would have been known there was a problem but they did what authoritarians do. they silenced those who were trying to sound the alarm and wanted to have time to develop a narrative that would be blessed by the communist party of china which means they probably had to go all the way to beijing before you could say anything . though this is a real problem and there would be a kind of reckoning on china with this with its own consolation which was angered by the lack of information and the international community to be asking the chinese strongly
why we always get this response. >> all the questions are about china right now to be honest, let me combine a couple. gina asked how should chinabe held to account for this , roger says doctor rice in your opinion what is the proper measured response to china and the ccd leadership to conclude our information about the virus and how it cost the world . >> there's both a public part of this and there's a private part of this . the public part i think over the next month is just to let it be known that china's responding in the way that it did. or didn't respond, let me put it that way because the chinese are going to create a counter narrative. when we found out about it we got on top of it. look at how quickly through social distancing and quarantine, look how quickly we recovered and by the way we've been helping the rest of the world by sending ppe and by sending help and aid
to all of the world. they're going to try to shift the narrative from their initial responsibilities for not fessing up to what was happening to we got on top of it and then we helped the rest ofyou, that's how they will try to shift the narrative . don't let it happen. we have to have an honest assessment of how this happened, where it started, when it started, when the communist party knew and why they didn't get it out there that's the public part. the private part is you have to go to the chinese and safe you can't keep doing this. you have to be a more responsible partner, a more responsible power given your weight now in the international system. are not just some developing country where so if something happens it doesn't have an impact. your people travel and your people work in other countries. there are a lot of chinese workers apparently in italy at the time.
was that the transmission outbreak, we don't know for sure if were going to get a handle on how this thing moves, the fact that china is such a big player and as people travel and work elsewhere is a big part of the story so i think there's both a public acknowledgment of what happens but also some private conversations with the chinese about how we don't let the public in. >> to watch the rest of this program visit ourwebsite booktv.org and search condoleezza rice . >> ladies and gentlemen welcome to the national constitution center and to another convening of our virtual america townhall. i am jeffrey rosen, president of this wonderful institution which is as those of you who joined us before online and in person know the only institution in america ordered by pirates to increase awareness and understanding of the constitution among the